The chronic use of immunosuppressive therapy in transplant recipients increases the long-term risk for carcinoma. However, there is insufficient knowledge regarding the incidence and biological behavior of papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC) in renal allograft recipients. In the present study we examined the incidence and biological behavior of PTCs among 1739 patients transplanted between January 1986 and December 1999 who had been followed for a mean period of 137 months (range, 84-238 months). During the follow-up, 129 (7.4%) recipients were identified to display posttransplantation malignancies, including 12 (0.7%) with PTCs. The 6 male and 6 female patients had a mean age of 41 years (range, 23-57 years). Nine cases (incidentalomas) were diagnosed based on ultrasonographic (US) screening. Eight of those 9 were TNM stage I, 2 of the 3 clinical carcinomas were TNM stage IVa. During a mean follow-up of 94 months (range, 18-159 months), 2 (16.7%) PTC patients developed locoregional recurrence, but no patients showed distant metastases. These data showed that recipients had a higher incidence of PTC compared with the general Korean population (0.7% vs 0.02%). Posttransplantation PTC tended to show no difference in gender distribution, and was often associated with aggressive lymphatic metastasis. However, most incidentalomas showed favorable treatment outcomes. In conclusion, routine surveillance of the thyroid gland using US screening is recommended to ensure early detection, treatment, and favorable prognosis of PTC.
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